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Nostalgic trip to central Bangalore – part two

Sunday, March 8, 2009

/ by Srikanth Eswaran

I had written an earlier post describing a short journey into Bengaluru Central. I continue that here. As I walked all along the really small lane, I could not help noticing that even in the din, there was silence, even in the dust there was life, even in the dinginess, there was space. For a moment, I looked up skywards, and found storey over storey of buildings. There were scores of pigeons living in harmony with the people doing business here.

The shop I went to was a small place. But business was brisk. There was a large portrait of the shop owners father who was no more and all business was transacted under him literally :) I waited for 15 minutes after which my product was ready. Meanwhile a worker in that locality (or perhaps I must call him ragpicker) came over to the shop and begged for something to eat. I expected the shopkeeper to pay him a few coins and ask him to go away, but what touched me was instead that he gave the ragpicker a bun to eat. This was a daily routine. In a way is this not equivalent to sharing profits like our huge IT organizations do? Well maybe not exactly but its somewhere there.

As I started walking back to other shops, I could not help noticing scores of schoolchildren alight from a school van after their half a day of school was over. Sincerely I am dead against having school on Saturdays. I’ve enjoyed nearly ten years of weekend holidays in my life and I wish every school kid was also given this option. I searched high and dry for some juice or flavoured milk, but the summer heat did not permit me to find one so easily. So at the signal light I jumped on to a bus taking me to the main bus stand. Unfortunately since the conductor had closed the ticketing for that journey, he was unable to give me a ticket. And I was the rule violator of ticketless travel for the day. I jumped off the bus, before an inspector could catch hold of me.

Even before I could think, there was an air conditioned volvo welcoming me into its plush seats. Unable to bear the harsh heat, I just succumbed to the luxury. The return journey took me almost one hour with the bus twisting and turning at every possible junction. Finally the bus stopped about a kilometre away from my house and I found what I wanted – sugarcane juice. Frankly this tastes much more better and refreshing than even tender coconut and these days they also serve it in plastic cups for neatness. Six bucks a glass sounded like pre 1995 era, and I blissfully gulped down a glass of sugarcane. I still had to reach my house for which I decided to take another bus.

For a walk time of ten minutes, the bus seemed to take eternity to reach the same place. A couple who were college students were busy sharing their love for each other on the vestibule bus in full public glare, oblivious of the imminent audience. For the first time without argument, the conductor gave me a ticket in actuals. As I got down from the bus, the long hours spent in central Bengaluru were etched in my mind for sometime to come. Little did I realize I would have to traverse the same trajectory a week later only to bring back more old Bengaluru feelings within my mind!

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